Another excerpt from phwoar, where Tom Whitebait finally gets builders pencil to Moleskin and gets some writing done.
Tom’s tips for young writers wanting to use fish in their fiction: Bonito: Hard fighting but very poor tasting fish. I would advise a young writer against using this fish. The self reflection on the pointlessness of your existence could be devastating.
Shazza’s pubic hair lay like low scrub against the Bluff Knoll of one raised thigh. In the hissing light of the pressure lamp, she breathed, and watched Robbo take in the tectonic rise and fall of her Perongurups. She shifted her hips, and as the shadows crossed, she knew he could have almost seen her Mt Barker. But she didn’t care. And in response to this familiar but ancient landscape, the metronomic beat of Old Mullagulla’s didgeridoo seemed to come from her own skittish heart, pounding, pounding, pounding as the dancers flickered on the saltbush like bats…
Wait, can he really have a ghost Aboriginal in on the seduction scene? A whole corroboree even? Seems a bit pervy somehow. Or would it be even more racist to leave him out? He had been sparing with his use of ghost indigenous characters in his books and plays previously – he’s only used them eight or nine times over twelve books, but it was still a tricky area. But if there was a film version, they would be sure to be grateful to him for getting one of their fullas a bit part in a major Australian production…
But he crosses out the didge and starts writing again anyway,
…the moist pant, pant, pant of the thylacine seemed to come from deep in her own throat, it’s long tongue lolling, “Tiger is that you?” And she remembered those hours lost in the moistness of Mammoth Cave…
No, that is no good either. A ghost thylacine looking on while they’re rooting? Unless Tiger is warning her off this bloke Robbo, and that would sound a little too Lassie. And in any case, he needs to have Robbo throw a leg over sometime. But he has the strong suspicion that a whiff of bestiality might be the difference between a Booker and a Miles Franklin.
“Aargh.” This writing with a woman’s voice is doing his head in. And will readers understand the allusions? Did everyone know that Mt Barker is the arsehole of the Great Southern? Would The Booker judges get it? He bet Coetzee didn’t have to worry about this. Chuck in a couple of Bloemfonteins and Witwatersrands in, and they lapped it up. All he has is Witchcliffe. No matter. After a Booker, Witchy would be as famous as Walvis Bay. He decided to leave the sex description until later, and moves on to safer ground – the final scene. He sticks his tongue between his teeth and scribbles on in a fever.
“Tiger you don’t have to go!” She threw her arms round his neck, as the surge of the corroboree enveloped them, the orange of the fires making the stripes of the thylacine ripple and jump with the dancers.
“Goodbye Shazza”, croaked the native dog, and already the ground itself was moving forcing them apart – a newly formed rift valley. He, pulled towards his ancient enemies, she back to Witchcliffe, and Robbo – who was even now pounding back towards her through the scrub, backlit by the pearly opalescence of his EH ute. (Wait, no, no, can’t be. He’ll make it a Ssangyong Stavic.) Tiger turned his long head back to her one more time, and in her chest she felt the “boom” of the didgeridoos, and on her skin the “tish” of spears sliding back in dry ghostly hands. “Wait! Tiger, wait!” she wailed, but the spears flew and her cries merged into one with the howl of the thylacine in its final, ancient battle…
“Shaz! We gotta shoot through” screamed Robbo as the sky bucked and roiled above them, like a suburban council version of the Skyshow. And was it Iva Davies and Great Southern Land courtesy of South West FM pumping out of the window of Robbo’s Stavic? No, wait, it was Phil Collins and In The Air Tonight!
And later, while Robbo burnt the kangaroo ticks off her arse with half a pack’s worth of Winnie Blues, he asked her: “Shaz, was all that…real?”
“Yeah,” she said. “Magically real.”
“Bookaaaaahhh!” he cries.
Nothing from back east tastes good here
‘ Hypothesis : imagine a very large town at the centre of a fertile plain which is crossed by no navigable river or canal . Throughout the the plain the soil is capable of cultivation and is of the same fertility . Far from the town the plain turns into an uncultivated wilderness which cuts off all communication between the state and the outside world .
‘ There are no other towns in the plain . The central town must therefore supply the rural areas with manufactured products , and in return will obtain all its provisions from the surrounding countryside .
‘ The mines which provide the state with its metals and salt are near the central town , which , as it is the only one , we shall in future simply call ” The Town ” … ‘
— from J H v Thuenen , Die Isolierte Staat ( 1826 )
The Dutch – I came, I saw, I left. Fuckers.
“Bookaaaaahhh!” he cries. ‘Where’s me possum skin Buka, it’s cold in this fuckin cave.’
Then, plaintively, ‘Aaaawww shucks, just call me an early Bradshaw period dynamic renaissance man figure.’ Shit, thought Tom. Holy fuckin shit am I good or what. I’ll get a Booker for that sentence for sure.
Then, without prompting, the Thylacine, if indeed that’s what it was, leaped at him from where it had been painted on the rock all those years ago, reverse engineering itself into reality. It was red. It licked him. Could it be? No it couldn’t. But it was!
‘Red Dog you’ve returned! Care to join me for a billy of Datura tea?’